Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Smells Like Dog
Written by: Suzanne Selfors
Recommended Ages: 8-12
Smells Like Dog is a delightful book that will appeal to boys and girls alike. There's a timeless feel to the book that reminds me of some of my favorite reads as a child. Roald Dahl, in particular, comes to mind.
Homer Pudding is a fairly ordinary, slightly pudgy farm boy who dreams of being a treasure hunter like his dashing Uncle Drake Pudding. Unfortunately, one day he and his family get the horrible news that Uncle Drake has been killed by a killer tortoise. The news also comes to them, via the law office of Snooty and Snooty, that he has left all of his worldly possessions to Homer. These worldly possessions consist of a pair of boots (all that was left of poor Uncle Drake), a Bassett hound who can't smell, and a mysterious coin attached to the dog's collar with the letters L.O.S.T. on it. While Homer is honored that his uncle left everything to him, he also begins to think that things look slightly suspicious. After he accidentally burns down the town's library while researching the origins of the coin, he decides to do some investigating.
Homer takes off for The City (a place where, his father warns, bad things happen) to find out what type of coin he has, what L.O.S.T. stands for and to locate a treasure map of his uncle's. Along the way, Homer meets some fantastic, eccentric characters, all of whom add to the delicious twists and turns he encounters. There's the giantess Zelda, the wacky inventor Ajitabh, and the little orphan girl Lorelei. But the most delectable character of all is Madame La Directeur. She is over-the-top evil and a great nemesis for Homer to face.
Smells Like Dog is quite a romp, with parts that are laugh out loud funny and parts where you will be holding your breath wondering how exactly Homer is going to get out of a pickle. Homer and Dog quickly warm their way into your heart, so that the whole time you are rooting for their success.
I think Smells Like Dog would be a wonderful book for a third or fourth grade class to read aloud. Girls and Boys will be enthralled by Homer's adventures and it will appeal to even the most reluctant of readers. Oh did I mention that it's the first book of a trilogy? So the adventures of Homer Pudding and Dog continue on. I can't wait to see what and who they come up against!
BookNosher Activity: On Suzanne Selfor's website she has a page for teachers which contains curriculum ideas, art activities and worksheets. It's definitely worth checking out.